Q: As I’m rushing to finish all my holiday shopping, I’ve been thinking about the past year and what I wish I could give my MSP business. The top four things I want for my MSP business this year are a pipeline full of leads, properly trained employees, an awesome marketing strategy, and more recurring revenue. I know these aren’t exactly gifts that can be wrapped up neatly with a bow on top, but how can I make these wishes come true?
Happy Holidays! We might not have any magic reindeer or a flying sleigh, but we’re here to help you get everything you’ve wished for as an MSP this year. We understand these four business challenges and have resources and tools available to help you.
After looking over your wish list, it’s clear there’s one underlying theme: time. We know this is something many of our MSP Partners just don’t have enough of. When you’re splitting your time addressing a constant flow of support cases, working to win new business, and managing clients and employees, there simply isn’t enough time left in the day to focus on filling your pipeline, training your employees, marketing your business, and bringing in more recurring revenue, too.
As our gift to you, we’ll help you streamline these challenges and free up more time for your MSP business in the New Year. Here’s how you can make all your wishes come true in 2016:
MSP Wish List
Wish #1: A pipeline full of leads
We know some of your MSP peers rely solely on word-of-mouth referrals to generate leads for their business. While you might also be winning referral business, it’s not enough to sustain pipeline long term. To take the quantity and quality of your referral leads to the next level, you need to be proactive.
You can fuel your pipeline with more referral leads by identifying the customers that are satisfied with your services, have peers in their small business community that could benefit from your services, and are willing to advocate on your behalf. Determine who the best referral candidates are, proactively reach out, and warm them up before asking for a referral.
Cold calling is another good tactic to use to build up your pipeline. Some MSPs think cold calling is dead, but it’s still an effective method for reaching prospects. Dedicate one hour a day to your cold calling efforts, and you’ll quickly see the benefits. Put it on your calendar and stick to the commitment. All you need to get started is a phone and a list of prospects whose business you’d like to win.
Wish #2: Properly trained employees
New technicians at some MSPs are not provided formal training and have to teach themselves, which is not always the most effective method. By providing training opportunities for your current and new employees, you can avoid mistakes and identify challenges your employees are facing and address them quickly.
Getting started with a training program doesn’t need to take a significant amount of time. Start off by performing a needs assessment to find what skills your employee would need to grow in their roles. Using this information, you can put together a video or webinar that explains a particular skill or process and then use this set of videos to train new employees. If you don’t have time to create a video series, you can look for external training opportunities for your employees to attend. Be sure to involve Senior Management in the training process to make sure that employees are delegated the time to spend completing their training.
Wish #3: An awesome marketing strategy
There are a few different things you do to take your marketing strategy to the next level. IT marketing coach Raj Khera advises MSPs to take the critical first step of understanding your buyer persona, an outline that describes your ideal customer. Here are a few examples of what information to include in your buyer persona modeling.
Using your buyer persona you can create marketing campaigns that will be better informed to reach your target customer. Email marketing campaigns are particularly effective for some MSPs. For Intronis Partners, you can use the re-brandable marketing materials and campaigns in Intronis Essentials to more quickly and easily scale your marketing efforts.
From there, look for new ways to find and reach prospects in your target audience. You can easily start posting on social media, attending local chamber of commerce events, and advertising in publications they read. Better yet, start a blog or write a newsletter that covers the topics your prospects would be interested in reading about.
Wish #4: More recurring revenue
A useful way to bring in more recurring revenue is to convert the rest of your break-fix customers to managed service contracts. By offering managed services to them instead of just project-based work, you’ll be able to charge a higher margin for your IT services, and that will increase your monthly recurring revenue (MRR). For example, you can offer your customers remote monitoring and cloud backup as managed services and set a profitable margin for them. If you’re having trouble converting your remaining break-fix customers, perform a needs assessment to identify how managed services can help their business.
It’s also beneficial to use fixed pricing to sell your managed services. Having a set price for a package of your IT services will make it easier it to customize margins, budget, and build trust with your customers. It will also simplify the sales process.
We hope that these tips help your MSP business to achieve success in the New Year. If you’re able to build up your sales team’s pipeline with leads, develop your employees’ skills, and expand your marketing efforts, you’ll be on the path to bringing in more recurring revenue for your business. We hope you enjoy your Holiday and get everything you wished for this year.
Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com.